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Embedded systems function as part of a highly focused computer: something that excels at a tiny handful of dedicated functions. The instructions are included on a chip within the computer itself, allowing the device to function without needing to connect to another system (either wirelessly or through a cable). That self-containment provides embedded systems with their key advantage: allowing them to serve as a real time operating system (RTOS) that provides instant access to functionality. They rarely have a user interface the way personal computers do, since they perform very specified actions. The user simply pushes a button or executes a series of simple commands—and the system performs its function. Sometimes there is no interface; the embedded controller simply responds to input and provides output.
Embedded System Applications
Embedded systems often appear in consumer electronics, such as digital watches, mobile phones and video cameras. They allow ATMs to do their jobs without elaborate systems backing them up, and navigation systems like GPS systems to function on independent battery power. They play a particularly important role in modern automobiles: controlling functions such as cruise control, engine warning lights, and brakes. The need for real time operating systems in such hardware is self-evident. The driver must respond quickly to the situations of the road, and the embedded systems in his vehicle play a key role in doing so. However, embedded system applications go far beyond automobile safety. Embedded systems can also be used in battery charging systems, monitoring temperature, current flow, voltage, cooling fluid, and the many parameters needed to charge a battery while not damaging it or shortening its lifetime. Embedded systems are also used with micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), to create small but powerful control systems.
As we move forward into the future, embedded systems open up greater and greater possibilities for electronics. Imagine a pair of earrings that serve as a private MP3 player, or allow you to listen to news reports as they happen. Picture a pair of sunglasses that store movies for personal viewing, or a car that drives itself to its destination. On a more vital path, socket programming functions (which can link multiple embedded systems to each other) and embedded systems might permit portable medical monitors to regulate a patient’s bloodflow or skin patches to deliver medical aid automatically.
Glew Engineering specializes in embedded systems and real time operating systems, pioneering new uses and improving applicability. We provide real solutions to socket programming issues, hardware glitch issues and general functionality for embedded systems of all varieties. Contact us today and see how our innovative engineering methods can help you.